What's all that fluff you've been seeing everywhere?

The Local Sweden
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What's all that fluff you've been seeing everywhere?
The weather outside may be frightful, but it has nothing to do with snow. Photo: Emelie Isacsson/TT

No, it is not snow in May. But what is that white cotton-like fluff that has blanketed Stockholm and other parts of Sweden this week? Here's your answer.


It's a record amount of seeds from the aspen tree, a type of poplar whose seeds are dispersed together with these feathery fluff balls which help the seeds float in the air to reach new sites.

It's a record amount for the past decade, but will not cause problems if you're allergic to pollen.

READ ALSO: How to survive the pollen allergy season in Sweden

The fluff helps disperse the seeds of the aspen tree. Photo: Pontus Ahlkvist/TT

Pollen is released during flowering, which in the Stockholm region happened around a month ago for the aspen tree. It is only when the pollen has fertilized the flower that the seeds are released.

So the fluff itself – or as one biologist at the Swedish Natural History Museum referred to it when speaking to Swedish media, "God's belly button fluff" – will not cause allergic reactions, but its feather-like quality may still make you sneeze if you breathe it in.

If you are having a reaction to pollen, it could be oak or grass, which are currently flowering.

READ ALSO: Test your knowledge about pollen in our sponsored quiz


aspen – asp

pollen – pollen

fluff – ludd

flowering – blomning

cotton – bomull

We're aiming to help our readers improve their Swedish by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know.


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